Young shocks Simeon

Young beat Simeon 71-66, Tuesday 03-13-18. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Simeon senior Talen Horton-Tucker, the Player of the Year, fell to his knees in sadness and shock as the final buzzer sounded at the end of overtime.

The Wolverines’ season was over. Young beat top-ranked Simeon 71-66 in the Class 4A Chicago State supersectional.

While the Wolverines were in tears, the Dolphins didn’t even celebrate.

“This win is not what we came here for,” Young coach Tyrone Slaughter said. “We didn’t come for this game we came for the next two games.”

Slaughter’s Dolphins have had a knack for state playoff success the last few seasons. They beat the Wolverines in the Class 4A state title game last season.

Simeon has seemed like an unbeatable force the past three months. The Wolverines dominated at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament and in the city playoffs. They were nationally ranked and coach Robert Smith had even said that this could be his best team ever.

“We were playing the best team in the country out there tonight,” Slaughter said. “They are an outstanding team and have the Player of the Year. This is our time. Our teams historically have gotten better at the end of year. The guys grew up tonight.”

Young’s Jake Kosakowski made a three-pointer with 28 seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 60.

Horton-Tucker had a shot to win the game for Simeon (29-4) at the end of regulation but it rimmed out. Young jumped out to a 66-64 in overtime. The Wolverines continued to feed Horton-Tucker. He scored 26 points, but missed a difficult post move that could have tied the score at 66.

Kosakowski secured the rebound and the Dolphins shot 5-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 19 seconds of overtime to secure the win.

It is Simeon’s first loss to an in-state team this season. The Wolverines beat Young in the city tournament.

“Our guys got better shots and we took care of the ball,” Slaughter said. “But most importantly we played better defensively. Talen was going to get points but we were able to limit the others.”

Messiah Jones, Simeon’s All-Area and All-City post player, was limited to three points and 12 rebounds. Kosakowski, a 6-6 senior, isn’t a post player but he is the tallest Dolphin.

“Messiah is a tough guy to guard,” Kosakowski said. “They don’t have to run any play for him, he’s just a scrapper. I just tried to keep him off the glass. My mindset is to do whatever we can to win. I think my presence defensively helped us get this win and if feels great.”

Javon Freeman and Xavier Castaneda each scored 19 for Young (27-7). Myles Baker and Justin Boyd each added 11. All four were key players on last season’s championship team.

“This is their time,” Slaughter said. “Jake has been outstanding the last three games. All we asked him to do was go out and fight with Messiah as much as he could and he did that.”
Xavier Pinson scored 12 for Simeon but fouled out in the fourth quarter. Junior Kejuan Clements added 14 points.

“We hadn’t been playing well in awhile,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “When Pinson wnet out that really hurt us.”

Young will face Evanston in the Class 4A state semifinals on Friday in Peoria.

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  • Steveo

    I was at the Larkin game last night. They had a pretty good group of fans. Hopefully they’ll bring more to Peoria.

  • Clyde The Glide

    Here’s a hot topic on the south side: Rob Smith may have coached his last game at Simeon. Neighborhood news has him going to Chicago State who is rumored to have cleaned house. Is it true that Tracy Dildy was fired? We were also told the girls coach was fired and CSU is looking at Corry Irvin of WY for that spot. Calvin Davis’ name was mentioned for the AD position at CSU. Don’t know if this is true or just rumors. Anybody heard this?

  • Kennedy chambers

    That’s how a great player acts and it’s all about the game and he is a great player

  • chris

    “It’s the journey. It’s the experience. It’s what we went through together as a team that, in the big picture, is something we’ll never trade. Part of what we’re experiencing right now is part of the beauty of high school basketball, as painful as it is,” he said.
    “What’s happening in that locker room they’ll remember the rest of their lives. When it means so much, you hurt. It’s not even just about losing the game. It’s that we’re done. These guys care about each other so much, it’s hard to overcome,” Coach Gene Heidkamp at Benet HS

    And every team will go through this except one in each class.
    We all have not reached are full potential and need to grow up some more.

  • Jay

    Clearly some of you were terrible in debate class in high school . I just read THT was only good because he was the biggest and strongest kid out there . Every real basketball program in the state has a 6´5 player or bigger on their roster . THT was one of the most skilled kids that has come out of the Chicago area in a long time . WY is no push over team or program they are the 4A returning champs .

  • Coach Rich

    Big Ups to Javon Freeman and WY. I’ve been following Freeman since Lincoln Jr. High. He is the Truth!!!

  • Shogun29ppg

    If you know anything about basketball, great players can always play together, because of their basketball IQ(if they are truly great), and the team comes first. But first my friend you have to have great players, and I haven’t seen 2 on one team in this area in awhile(what I call great).

  • Shogun29ppg

    Hoops Hardcore, I hear yah brother. I played ball in the late 70’s, led the state in scoring, and secured a full ride to play basketball. Have played for some legendary coaches, and played against some legendary players, I am also an IBCA hall of famer as a player. So I think I speak from a point of experience, from the highest levels of high school basketball. I am not a hater, I only speak from what I have seen and know. My brother-in-law was a McDonalds all-American(Michael Payne Quincy). So I know talent when I see it, I also know great coaching when I see it. I could have coached simeon the past 10 years and would have won at least 7 titles with the groups Smith has had at his command, he over coaches, and over subs. He keeps the other teams in the game, with his coaching style. Yes he may have obtained results, but that does not mean he has maximized his position. As far as THT, he’s a good player, that’s it(period). In any other year(with talent) this kid is nobody’s POY(period). The only reason is because he stayed healthy, team history, decent numbers, lack of talent throughout state. So please give credit where credit is due, and if you think THT is all that, you must not have watched a lot of great basketball throughout you short life. But that’s just my opinion.

  • gary dangerfield

    Let’s not lose the overall objective here. Its easy to tear someone down, as oppose to celebrating them doing for something positive. These are young men 16, 17 and 18 years-old, who are not out running the streets involved in negative activity. Chicago and the area has enough negative attention; without ripping on high school players trying to do the right thing. Just a thought.
    Lt. Col. (R)
    3RD U.S. Cavalry

  • hoops hardcore

    not a fan of simeon basketball. not a fan of robert smith. not a fan of knee-jerk responses about high school basketball. that said, how can anyone who claims to know about any sport let alone basketball take shots at a coach that has won 4 maybe 5 state championships. ok…so you say he’s coached top talent. so what…if you’ve ever coached basketball then you would know that coaching two talented players is a challenge let alone coaching 3 or 4 of them each year. meshing talent is a very underrated part of coaching and rob smith does it well. blaming him for his players level of physical conditioning is a bit unfair. In college players are with coaches 5 to 6 hours a day and physical conditioning is a BIG part of it. in high school most coaches have their guys for 2 hours and that time has to be devoted to practice and game planning. HS coaches rarely have the time it takes to have a full fledged conditioning program DURING THE SEASON. losing this huge game doesn’t mean that THT isn’t the player of year. absurdity! he is absolutely the best player in the AREA and maybe the STATE! criticizing coach smith is a fair activity because it goes with the coaching territory…but ask yourself…when coach K at duke is winning with 3/4 McDonald’s players…do you criticize him the years he loses in the elite-8 or final-4? they are coaches at the top of the winning game at their respective levels…so my question is fair.

    • chris

      Its all good. THT is a class act, just check out his thank you and good bye to High School basketball statement. THT will be great success in college. Coach Smith is a good coach.
      The fact remains that in this game with Young with a trip to Peoria on the line, the shot selection by Simeon as a team was many times terrible and often not good. Go back to the tape and count how many times Simeon shot the ball way early in their possession after only 1 or 2 passes , not making the Young defense work, and some of these poor shot selections were from way beyond the 3 point line. How about pounding the ball down low and crashing the boards EVERY time, EVERY valuable possession. What was the HURRY to fire up the ROCK???????

  • Rick P

    What’s up with the Sieger kid? Never really heard about him all year after the big transfer? That family loves the individual spot light!

  • Casey

    Good (a school where academics comes first) triumphs over evil (the school that changes grades – DROSE and steals players from other schools).
    Why a parent that is serious about his son’s education and basketball would not send their kid to WY is a mystery to me.

    • Wscfantoo

      Aren’t you answering your own question? I didn’t see one mention of Kosakowski in the win over Curie, and he shot them to the early lead while Curie’s transfer point guard shot poorly and didn’t get Commander the ball enough. With all the supposed talent at Simeon you have to question Smith’s ability to adjust as a coach. That said, Castenada is awesome.

  • Shogun29ppg

    Enough with all this THT talk, this kid is not the best player in the state, and will not be a star at the next level, if he is the team must not be very good. You overrate these guys on a continuous basis. He will score any many points as I do this weekend in Peoria. He is simply bigger and stronger that everyone at this level in Chicago, what else? Complimentary at best at next level. But first needs to get in shape, I attribute this to Smith.

    • The Moor

      Your saying that now because you may have dodged a bullet aimed at your chest if you would’ve played against him. You never know how good someone truly is and less you test them. Eat that!

  • L. Robinson

    I would have loved to see how the officiating was this game. The article reads WY went 5 for 6 in the last 19 secs.Fouled 3 times in 19 secs? I saw WY play earlier in the playoffs this year. They literally got every call the entire 4th quarter, without even a glimpse of a call going against them. I will say congratulations WY, but I would have loved to see the officiating for this game.

    • Eric

      Officiating was totally fine. They shot six free throws in that time because Simeon was fouling to stop the clock.

  • Downstate Nate

    Congrats to Young, this is an impressive win. Wish I could have seen it as it sounds like it was a hell of a game. Was at the West Aurora/Belleville West game. I can’t imagine anyone beating Belleville West in Peoria.

    • mikenike

      Have to agree with your last sentence. Belleville West is crazy good and Liddell is unreal. I expected West Aurora to get beat but not by almost 40 points. None of the other 3 teams is going to be able to stop him or the other guys–King, Randolph and Brazile are all pretty good too. Simeon when they were playing their best would have had their hands full with them.

      • chris

        Sense another slaughter about to happen, this time time to Larkin. The Bell coming for everyone as a hungry buzzsaw. Evanston and the Whitney of Young looks to be a close game this friday. Coach Slaughter on top of his game and team right now. He has learned and also calmed down these last few years. he must be getting older and wiser in realizing he knows less and let’s his kids play.

      • Downstate Nate

        I agree with you mikenike. Simeon wasn’t beating Belleville West either. This tournament is over. They have most of their core back next year too, other than Malachi Smith.
        Unfortunately, 3A is over as well. Hope I’m wrong, but attendance is going to be terrible this weekend. I’m sure the IHSA was rooting for Benet last night just for the number of fans (students) they bring.

  • chris

    Not so shocking to Whitney Young. They were ready for this game. They found a weakness in reviewing the Simeon-Marist game in defending Simeon.
    Lack of quick ball movement by Simeon. Against top defenses in the state, you need to quickly pass the ball to all players on your team without shooting or forcing drives. You might have to pass the ball 10-15 times before shooting to GET better , higher % shots , to make the defense WORK and break them down and wear out the opposing players. This never happened. GREAT players on Simeon, all will be be successful in college and will be back. Humility is painful and we all struggle with it. We are called to be humble. Not so easy.
    Was a great game by the top players in Chicago that played with First Class sportsmanship and such calm Poise way beyond their young ages in a pressure packed stage.

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